The COVID-19 experience continues to impact company operations, performance, employees, customers, supply chains and more, as well as challenge management and board oversight of these critical issues.
At the same time, it also is contributing to the intensifying investor interest in these topics, and the gradually maturing conversation around ESG, Human Capital Management (HCM) and related topics.
To address these impacts as well as their resilience to potential future disruptions, many companies are applying “lessons learned” from these disruptions and adjusting their processes and resources. That’s step one. Step two, “getting credit” for these improvements, requires effectively communicating them to investors and other critical audiences. This includes investor support for their board, its oversight of an increasing array of issues, the appropriateness of their executive compensation programs, and their progress toward identifying and reporting on their material ESG and HCM risks and opportunities.
Many of these issues are communicated through regular investor engagement, IR communications, investor presentations, Sustainability Reports and other documents and channels.
The annual proxy statement provides companies with an additional opportunity to remind investors of their position and progress on these topics, and to build support for the board and management on the issues investors are focused on.
For the past 9 years, DFIN has annually produced our “Guide to Effective Proxies”, which is the most comprehensive tool of its kind. The Guide is a searchable catalog of innovative and shareholder-friendly best practice proxy disclosures drawn from the public filings of DFIN’s blue-chip client base. Organized not by company, but by proxy section, topic and feature, the guide serves as a unique efficiency tool to assist companies in transforming proxy statements from traditional compliance documents to more compelling shareholder communications pieces.